Bury Your Dead: What Divorce Taught Me About Love

Barnabas Smith
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 15, 2023

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Illustration by Barnabas Smith

“That is not why I’m leaving you!”

The words rang throughout the car. We had been heading towards this point for years, but this was the first time the words were spoken. It stung.

In our eight years of marriage, we had never yelled at each other like this. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to hold it together enough to drive. We were fighting about money.

However, money was not the reason our relationship was ending. My wife had become someone different. Someone extraordinary and vibrant. She had become herself.

Which meant the woman I had married was gone. At that point, I hadn’t yet come to terms with saying goodbye and moving forward. Part of me held on to hope that our marriage could continue.

But I was holding a corpse.

Our marriage was not perfect, but it was good. Friends and family openly admired our relationship. We were partners and best friends supporting each other through the ups and downs of life. When kids came into the picture, things became rough, but we took it in stride.

Some attributed the strength of our relationship to our faith. I was a youth pastor when we met, decades into ministry work with various churches and denominations. She was starting to make her faith her own after years of working in various children’s ministries.

We were fast friends, often going on long walks together. We talked about life, the universe, and everything. We didn’t always agree, but the conversations were always fulfilling.

What we didn’t discuss were the secrets we kept from ourselves.

I had long been somewhat of an outsider among the various churches I worked in and attended. My calming spirit and ability to teach made me a great fit for various pastoral and teaching roles. But I came into Christianity as somewhat of anarchist. My knowledge of the Bible led me to more leftist thinking that often put me at odds with the more conservative churches I found myself in.

Over time I became adept at hiding my beliefs and taking on the persona I needed to in order to maintain community and have a place where I was being of service to those around me. The only principle I refused to…

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Barnabas Smith
Human Parts

I am a poet based in Boulder County, Colorado. I write about poetry, mysticism, anarchism, and all the ways they intersect. https://linktr.ee/barnabasprime